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Editorial: When Resolutions Go South

Published Date: January 2, 2023

Do you ever feel like you have so much on your plate that none of it is going well? You’re trying your best to find balance, but your efforts in every area turn out to be mediocre?

This reality was horribly vivid during my fall semester. Abject failure faced me several times as I tried to do my two jobs and three classes with excellence. The inability to be perfect was a strike at the heart of my identity. And that was precisely where God lovingly challenged me.

What is the goal of Christian ministry? Is it to create a perfect program, or to glorify God? Are we called to do things for Jesus, or to journey with Jesus? The former things tend to trip us up, even if we’re trying to do that latter.

It can be painful to be a seminary student with an achievement complex. When that paper or exam doesn’t go quite as well as expected, you feel as if you’ve let both God and yourself down. When you miss easy things on the job, you wonder what went wrong.

The good Lord has been reminding me that this is part of being human. Our finitude prevents perfection in practice, despite our best efforts. Failure might be a way of exposing idols, too – do I value maintaining my desired GPA above remaining faithful to God?

It is in the moments that we feel the most weak and worthless that God’s loving movement is most clear. Paul certainly found this to be true (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV): “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 

Perhaps this is a good word to have in mind as we blaze a trail in the new year. Our resolutions may not go the way we hope, but even in those failures, God’s grace is sufficient. If 2023 doesn’t turn out the way we expect, God’s grace is sufficient. May we find our strength and worth in Him alone, trusting that giving all of ourselves to Him, failures and all, is enough.

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